Zebulon suspect now wanted for 4 bank robberies

amoody@newsobserver.comMay 16, 2014 

— The FBI’s North Carolina office is asking the public to keep an eye out for a man who has revealed only his eyes to surveillance cameras while committing four bank robberies over the last five months.

The FBI has joined local police in the search for the “Eyes Only Bandit,” who robbed banks in Zebulon and Spring Hope and a Franklinton bank twice. The man earned the nickname for wearing gloves, a hooded coat and scarf over his face in each robbery. Only his eyes were visible.

Zebulon Lt. Scott Finch said the robber’s attire makes the investigation more difficult, but not impossible to solve.

“There’s a lot of resources out there that are available, whether it’s someone who saw his eyes or sometimes even a hand,” Finch said. “Just because you can’t see the full face doesn’t mean it’s an unsolvable crime. But it’s not as simple as it would be if he came in without (covering his face).”

Police describe the robber as a light-skinned black man who is 20-35 years old. He is said to be 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build. Police advise he is to be considered armed and dangerous.

The robber brandished a small, black semi-automatic pistol in two of the holdups. He did not indicate he had a weapon when he started the spree of heists Dec. 16 at the PNC Bank at 300 N. Arendell Ave. in downtown Zebulon.

He went on to hold up the PNC Bank at 102 E. Branch St. in Spring Hope on Jan. 10, and then the First Citizens Bank at 101 N. Main St. in Franklinton on Feb. 26 and March 13.

Zebulon Chief of Police Tim Hayworth had hoped the suspect’s heavy winter attire would jog the memory of witnesses of the robbery in Zebulon. At the time, it was unseasonably warm to be wearing such clothing. Finch said a person entering a bank in a similar outfit this time of year would be an even greater indicator of potential foul play.

Finch said the FBI’s resources have helped the Zebulon department locate other bank robbers in recent years. The bureau helped track down a man who fled to Wilson after robbing the First Citizens Bank in Zebulon in 2008.

“Their network and capabilities are better than that of a local government or even a state government,” Finch said. “The FBI has helped several cases with technology and manpower that has helped us.”

Anyone with information about the identity or location of the robber is asked to call the FBI at 704-672-6100 or East Wake Crimestoppers at 919-366-2746. Tips can also be submitted online at tips.fbi.gov.

Moody: 919-829-4806; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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